Recently the APD were able to arrest four suspects in the March 14 killings of two men in Little Five Points, still one of Atlanta’s more colorful neighborhoods despite the rapid and near-total gentrification of the area. The two men were leaving the bar they’d been carousing in and heading home at 0300. Nobody saw them get shot, but people heard the shots.
Earlier that night, some people in the Highlands, about a mile away, were robbed, and the robbers later arrested. The cops figured the same guys (three men and a 14yo boy, who since this is Georgia is being charged as an adult) for the L5P killings, but had nothing tangible. Unable to strong-arm any of these guys into confessing, the cops looked to the public:
Last Friday, [Detectives] Velazquez and Thomas asked the public for help in finding the man who returned the wallet to a bartender at the North Highland Pub, where a bartender contacted the owner.
The found wallet solidifies the timeline and makes it easily possible for the robbers to have committed the killings. It’s still a very circumstantial case, but again, this is Georgia. So, kudos to the police and to the guy who turned the wallet in, and then came forward later in response to the media call.
So this is fundamentally already a story: conflict, resolution. But simply to write it as a straightforward narrative would just be boring true-crime writing. Better still to mix it up a little, especially with respect to the victims. One way would be to tell it from the juvenile’s perspective: out of his depth everywhere, terrified of what will happen to him if he saves himself by snitching.
But the perspective that intrigues me most is that of the guy who found the wallet. What’s HE doing here? What’s he doing out at that hour? What’s the inner conflict he’s processing while stumbling upon the wallet, doing his duty as a citizen, shrugging and walking away? How does this relate to the consequences of coming forward later? What does it reveal about him that will cause him problems? And what about the danger he doesn’t know: if the 14yo has a credible fear of the gang coming for him if he snitches, the wallet-finder has no idea when he comes forward what those guys might do to him. He’s worried about some personal thing, when he ought to be worried about the gang.
I’ll tell it from both perspectives, see how that works out.